Thursday, 02 July, 2020

U.S. indicts WikiLeaks' Julian Assange for hiring Anonymous & LulzSec

Julian Assange charged with conspiring with New US indictment of Assange accuses WikiLeaks co-founder of ‘conspiring with Anonymous’ hackers… in FBI sting op?
Deanna Wagner | 29 June, 2020, 16:09

While WikiLeaks and Assange himself have been demonized by the U.S. establishment since the 2016 presidential campaign - when they published internal documents of the Democratic National Committee, as well as private emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta - the charges are entirely unrelated to that episode, at least for now. As per the DOJ, Assange had asked the LulzSec leader to get mail, documents, databases and PDFs for one target.

Assange is alleged by the American authorities to have asked LulzSec to hack USA intelligence services the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, along with the New York Times, looking for emails, documents, and databases that could be published by Wikileaks.

Why it matters: The new indictment does not add new counts to the 18-count indictment filed against Assange under the Espionage Act past year, but it does "broaden the scope of the conspiracy surrounding alleged computer intrusions with which Assange was previously charged", according to the DOJ. The indictment further alleges that WikiLeaks also obtained and published leaked data from an American intelligence consulting company after it was targeted by hackers affiliated with Anonymous and LulzSec.

In its latest press release, the DoJ revealed that the new indictment doesn't add additional counts to the previous 18-count superseding indictment filed against the WikiLeaks founder in May 2019 under the Espionage Act.

Barry Pollack, Assange's lawyer said in a statement that "the government's relentless pursuit of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to journalists everywhere and to the public's right to know".

Assange's expulsion from the Embassy came after Ecuador revoked his diplomatic asylum request.

The DOJ had already accused Assange of plotting with Chelsea Manning to break into a Defense Department computer.

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Assange is now in the high security Belmarsh prison in south London as he fights an extradition request by the United States.

USA prosecutors are seeking his extradition on the grounds that he damaged national security by publishing hundreds of thousands of classified documents, but Assange maintains he was acting as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.

Assange maintains he was acting as a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection. His lawyers have argued the United States charges of espionage and computer misuse are politically motivated and an abuse of power.

The letter notes that several human rights organizations are demanding the release of the cyber activist and oppose his eventual extradition to the United States, whose government wants to try him for publishing thousands of secret files of U.S. diplomacy and the Army on WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks allegedly promised to their hackers that they will not be faced with any legal liability once they join and submit entries to the website, especially when you are not a us official.

Since the early days of WikiLeaks, Assange has spoken at hacking conferences to tout his own history as a "famous teenage hacker in Australia" and to encourage others to hack to obtain information for WikiLeaks.